Effect of opioid usage on emotional intelligence
This study assesses the impact that users of opioid have on emotional intelligence (EQ) among participants of a residential depression recovery program. Emotional intelligence (EQ) relates to success since it measures the capacity to control and express one's emotions, to handle interpersonal relationship empathetically and to motivate to achieve goals.
The program started in Oklahoma but now runs in Weimar, Northern California. Data from participants from 5 continents that started and finished a 10-day medical program was used. The exclusion criteria for the depression and anxiety program were acute psychosis or active mania. Every patient was evaluated by a board certified physician and a custom therapy program was prescribed together with blood tests and a battery of psychological tests that are applied at baseline and at the end of the program, including the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BDA) and the Depression and Anxiety Assessment Test (DAAT). The program uses medical, psychological, spiritual, and various lifestyle interventions to improve mental health and emotional intelligence. One goal of the therapy is to try to identify causes of depression and try to reverse them, one of the causes of depression deals with addictions. Patients are encouraged and helped to decrease opioids as well as benzodiazepines. Emotional intelligence was measured using a mini EQ test that is part of the DAAT test.
From the n=523 patients, 18 were using some prescribed opioid medication at the start of the program. One patient started using methadone as it was found that the patient had used streets opioids just before coming to the program and did not disclose it during the screening. The average age of the opioid users were 51.6, SD 16.1 and 68.4% were females. At the beginning of the program the opioids used were codeine (n=1), fentanyl (n=1), hydrocodone (n=7), hydrocodone/acetaminophen (n=4), oxycodone (n=1), oxycodone/acetaminophen (n=1) and tramadol (n=5). The average EQ at baseline for that group was 90.4, SD 9.7, median 89, mode 100 by the end of the 10 program the end average EQ was 113.2, SD 15.1, median 110 and mode 130. Paired t-test indicated that the improvement was significant t=-6.792, mean difference -22.78, p< .001. At the end of the program only 6 patients were using opioids with less dosage than the beginning.
Those using opioid seem to have 10 point less than the normal average EQ at baseline. The program was effective in increasing the EQ above what the average is. The effect seems to be related to the decrease of opioids during the program, the educational component of the therapy together with the spiritual and psychological counseling. This study seems to indicate that EQ can be improved even among those that have a lower than normal EQ. Long term follow up is planned.